CfESEND blog: New beginnings at City College Norwich (CCN)

Elaine Dale, Director of SEND at City College Norwich (CCN), for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

We have been focusing on new beginnings and induction for learners with SEND at City College Norwich, ensuring learners settle well into college life.

As our existing learners return to college and new learners take their first steps into Further Education (FE), we know there is always a nervousness and excitement about starting or returning to college.

During induction, we asked learners what their experience had been like over the past two weeks. Without hesitation, every learner said they had been nervous but settled quickly and felt confident or assured very early on. It’s reassuring to know that all the hard work in planning for ‘new beginnings’ has paid off.

To prepare learners for their new beginning, we have focused their induction on a range of themes to ensure a positive welcome, as many of our learners were unable to visit the college prior to the start of term. These themes include:

  • Create a welcoming culture
  • Understand student and behaviour
  • Support good transition
  • Calm consistent adult behaviour (role modelling)
  • Paying attention – recognition and praise
  • Reinforcing routines
  • Scripted interventions
  • De-escalation strategies
  • A restorative approach

There is a guide to help Further Education professionals to understand and positively influence behaviour here.

To help learners to settle at the start of term, we have a large team of dedicated support staff who have been facilitating this. They are fantastic role models and use positive behaviour strategies to make learners feel valued and welcomed.

To ensure cohesion and consistency of approaches, the learning support staff work under the direction of the National Occupational Standards. The standards promote an inclusive culture and ways of working through the following themes:

  • Engaging and Motivating
  • Building Trust and Advocating Respect
  • Positive and Safe Learning Environment
  • Collaborative and Inclusive
  • Promoting Supportive Relations and Independence
  • High Expectations and Achieving Goals
  • Promoting Core Skills
  • Adapting Resources

This way of working has enabled the college to work effectively, and staff have a frame of reference to assure and improve practice. As a college and Centre for Excellence in SEND we have created this short guide on using the National Occupational Standards.

The idea of new beginnings can feel terrifying at times. However, with a supportive safe environment which is optimistic and encouraging, starting college is an exciting time.

Resources, webinars and updates

Please also keep a watchful eye on the SEND Centres for Excellence gateway for helpful resources, updates and webinars.

Here are some useful resources for further research:

https://www.et-foundation.co.uk/supporting-further-education-and-training-recovery/

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